Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Importance of Balance between Strength and Flexibility

Last week I attended a presentation at which my physical therapist discussed the importance of maintaining balance between muscle groups.

It was a great reminder of how to begin wisely in any PT program, starting with creating balance between muscle groups.  Imbalance can be caused by many things, including spasticity and disuse which are common in multiple sclerosis.  It makes sense that stronger muscles which get used more may be the ones which become shortened and stiff.  One must be methodical in his/her approach to stretch and strengthen muscle pairs (eg. calves/shins, thighs/hamstrings, abducters/adducters, biceps/triceps, pectoral and back muscles, etc).  I needed this reminder.

I also needed the reminder that in physical therapy, it is important to focus on flexibility, strength training, and aerobic exercise.  To achieve cardiovascular benefits, it is recommended that you exercise 3-5 times per week.  To attain muscular fitness benefits, it is recommended that you train two days per week.

Regarding motivation….“Only one-third of those who begin an exercise program are still exercising by the end of the first year.”  Here are some tips to help you stay motivated if you are working on your own to improve strength and flexibility:
  • Start an Exercise Log or Journal to chart your progress and provide motivation.
  • Find a fitness partner.
  • Schedule your workouts.
  • Make exercise non-negotiable.
What do you recommend to stay motivated when your physical well-being is at stake?

Read this post in its entirety:
Staying Motivated Beyond Physical Therapy

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